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The PL League Boss⭐
Apr 28, 2006
PL Headquarters Hullbridge
I hope the following is of some interest, on a Saturday afternoon in 1953 Southend United played a poor game of football, the crowd had a good old moan and then went home totally unaware of the disaster that would hit locally in a few hours time.

Saturday 31st January 1953
Southend United 1-0 Newport County
For the second time this season Southend completed the double (the first being against Swindon) but it was a tiresome match and was perhaps fitting that the only goal was scoring by centre-half Jimmy Stirling. Little credit can be given to United for this victory, true they had the bulk of the play, but it was a contest between two poor sides and Blues could not finish at any price. In fact their efforts on goal on occasions were little better than pathetic. United started well with Bridge prominent in the attack and from a Sibley corner Mansfield headed against the bar, while at the other end Newport missed from five yards shooting very wide. Far too many opportunities were being missed in the goalmouth and it was ten minutes before the interval that Newport gained their first corner. In the second half play deteriorated further as Blues became more desperate to score but it was not until the 87th minute that Sibley curled over a corner for Stirling to head home the winner to gain two valuable goals. afternoon.

On the night of Saturday 31st January 1953 a disaster occurred when the coast of Essex was flooded, it was caused by easterly gales which caused a huge surge of water down the Thames on top of what were already high tides. Unfortunately there were no plans in place to either predict or handle the widespread flooding. Foulness Island, Great Wakering and Barling were flooded, with six casualties at Barling where the flood reached a depth of over ten feet. The flooding at Southend was not too great but the water surged down river to Canvey which was largely below sea level where the 12,000 population lived largely in timber framed bungalows and other insubstantial housing. By 3.00 a.m. two thirds of the Island was under water 60 people lost their lives, largely when the water reached ceiling level and 11,500 were evacuated. Communications were limited and on the Sunday morning a house to house rescue operation was mounted and the Public House “Red Cow” was the centre of rescue operations. This pub was later renamed the “King Canute”.

From the Southend Standard: The decision was made to evacuate as many as possible from Canvey, Double decked buses were soon packed on arrival at Haystack corner. I wandered back down the High Street at the entrance to every side turning, now the estuaries of flooded streets, parties of workers in a variety of uniform swiftly unloaded boatload after boatload of rescued people and transferred them to waiting ambulances. From the top of the sea wall I looked down on a scene that struck fear into my heart. Along the flooded streets craft of every description where being paddled. Now and again I could see them steer close to an almost submerged house and though sometimes there calls of “Anyone there?” were answered, many times they were not. Everywhere I went they asked me “How many dead?” but the answer could not be given by me nor anybody else. I went down to the rest centre at South Benfleet Primary School which since first established in the early morning had clothed, fed and billeted several thousands of the refugees. In the clothing room piled high with garments sent from many parts of the country, they quickly fitted people out, offers of billets had come from as far away as York.


Extract from Southend United the Boom Years 1946 to 1955